CAPF (ACs) Exam Notes: DRDO

By Dhruv Kumar|Updated : May 8th, 2021

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is a nodal agency of Government of India, charged with the military's research and development.DRDO was established in 1958 by amalgamating Defence Science Organisation and some technical development establishments. A separate Department of Defence Research and Development Laboratory agency was established in 1980 which now administers DRDO and 52 laboratories/establishments.

Mission of DRDO

  • DRDO does research and development in the fields like aeronautics, electronics and instrumentation, combat vehicles, rockets and missiles, explosive research, naval systems, artificial intelligence, etc.
  • DRDO also assists the services by providing technical advice regarding the formulation of requirements, evaluation of systems that have to be acquired, fire and explosive safety and statistical analysis of operational problems.
  • Its aims to develop infrastructure, quality manpower and to make India self-reliant in the field of the defence sector.

Major Achievements of DRDO

1. Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP)

    1. IGMDP was an Indian Ministry of Defence programme for the research and development of a comprehensive range of missiles.
    2. This project was started under the leadership of A.P.J Abdul kalam, completed in 2008.
    3. This program brought together experts from academic institutions, Research and Development laboratories, industries and defence services in giving shape to the strategic, indigenous missile system.

Missiles under IGMDP are:

  1. Prithvi- Short-range Surface to Surface ballistic missile 
  2. Agni- Intermediate-range surface to surface ballistic missile
  3. Trishul- Short-range low-level surface to air missile
  4. Akash- Medium range surface to air missile
  5. Nag- Third-generation anti-tank missile 



2. Anti-satellite weapon (Mission Shakti)

After the success of Agni V missile, which went upto 600 km into space during the parabolic trajectory.DRDO started working on a deadly anti-satellite weapon (ASAT), capable of destructing satellite in both LEO (283 km altitude above the earth surface) and higher geosynchronous orbit.


Image Source TOI

3. BrahMos

  1. BrahMos is launched as a joint venture between DRDO and Russian NPO. The name BrahMos came from Brahmaputra and Moskva river of India and Russia.
  2. It is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile. It can be launched from multiple platforms including submarine, ships, aircraft or land. 
  3. BrahMos is the fastest cruise missile in the world, works on "fire and forgets principle". It can destroy any target within 290 km range, has a maximum velocity of 2.8 Mach and capability to cruise at an altitude varying from 10 meters to 15 km.

4. Aeronautics

  • DRDO is playing an important role in the development of LCA Tejas along with HAL and other organizations. The LCA project aims to provide the Indian Air Force with a modern, fly by wire, multi-role fighter, as well as to further progress aviation industry in India. LCA Tejas is an Indian single-engine delta wing, fourth-generation fighter aircraft.

byjusexamprepHAL Tejas

  • DRDO has also provided key avionics and other technology to Sukhoi-30 MKI. DRDO's radar computers, manufactured by HAL are also being fitted into Sukhoi-30s of Malaysia.
  • DRDO is also working with HAL on Development of HAL AMCA which is fifth-generation fighter aircraft
  • DRDO has also developed two unmanned aerial vehicles, first is Nishant tactical UAV and Second in Lakshya - Piloted target Aircraft.DRDO is also working on other UAV projects like Rustam Netra, Ulka, etc.

5. Tank Armament

DRDO  has also developed many critical systems for armed forces including Arjun Main Battle Tank's 120 mm main gun. DRDO is also a member of the trial team for T-72 tank upgrade and fire control system.


T-72 Tank

Challenges Before DRDO

  1. The concerns were expressed by the Standing Committee on Defence during 2016-17, over the insufficient budgetary support to DRDO for research and development.
  2. It was noted that out of total defence budget, the share of DRDO was reduced from 5.79 Percent in 2011-12 to 5.34 Percent in 2013-14.
  3. DRDO also suffers from a shortage of manpower in critical areas, impacting its synergy with armed forces.
  4. Increased project cost and long delays have damaged the reputation of DRDO.
  5. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report-2019, India is the third-largest importer of defence equipment, and even after so many years of DRDO's formation India still imports most of its defence equipment from other countries like Russia, U.S.A, France, etc. 
  6. DRDO's list of success is short mainly consists of missile systems like Agni and Prithvi series. Its list of failures is much longer like failure to develop Kaveri Engine despite being so much money is spent in its development.
  7. In the Comptroller and Auditor General of India( CAG) report, it was revealed that not all technologies developed by DRDO were suitable for the use of armed forces. Forces have rejected approximately 70% of products that were developed by DRDO's Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE).

Way Forward

  • DRDO ought to be rebuilt in a more slender association as proposed by a committee led by P. Rama Rao for external review of the organization in February 2007.
  • Setting up a commercial arm of DRDO was also recommended by the committee to make it a profitable entity, besides cutting back on delays in completing projects.
  • DRDO previous chief V.K. Saraswat has suggested the setting up of a Defense Technology Commission just as a greater job for DRDO in picking production partners for technology developed by the agency. DRDO should be able to select a capable partner company from the outset, from the private sector if necessary.
  • DRDO has taken some concrete steps like long-term contracts with Indian information technology (IT) giant such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) to build software solutions for defence projects, shifting its strategy of awarding deals to the lowest bidders on short-term projects.
  • In a document published by the organization "DRDO in 2021: HR Perspectives", it has envisaged an HR policy which emphasized on free, fair, and fearless Knowledge Sharing, Open book management style and Participative Management.

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